by December 31, 2000 0 comments

The ViPiNet router from Surecom is more than an Internet
sharing device. It can be used with various configurations. You can connect two
remote networks over a WAN link, segment your LAN, allow remote users to access
servers on your network from the Internet, and create virtual LANs. It even has
built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network) support. It’s pretty compact and doesn’t
take long to set up and configure.

The router is very modular in nature. You can use it with a
regular analog dial-up modem, ISDN, or a Cable/ADSL modem. It has a regular
serial port for the analog modem, while a separate bay for inserting modules for
either of the remaining two devices. That is, it’ll support either ISDN or
Cable/ADSL modems at one time.

Surecom Internet (Super) 

ViPiNet Router EP-3809
Router. Rs 30,000
Features: VPN support; virtual servers; communication through regular dial-up, ISDN, or Cable/ADSL modems.
Pros: Can be used in various configurations; easy to configure through its Web interface.
Cons: None.
Source: Ace Microelectronics, B120 Kalkaji
New Delhi 110019. 
Tel: 11-6201276/1369, 624304 Fax: 91-11-6231290 
E-mail: 
jainace@giasdl01.vsnl.net.in
 

The model we’ve reviewed also has seven Ethernet ports and
an uplink port. So it can also act as a switch for a small network. All ports
are 10/100 Mbps with auto-sense capability, that is, they can automatically
determine the network they’re connected to. It can be configured through a Web
browser, telnet access, or you can even connect it directly to a PC using its
COM port.

As mentioned, the router can act as an Internet sharer for
clients connected to it. It has its own DHCP server that automatically assigns
IP addresses to clients. This way, they can use it to access the Internet. We
tried this with a modem and it worked pretty well. It wakes up as soon as it
receives a request from a client on the network, to connect to the Internet. It
can also be configured to switch off after a period of inactivity.

Another interesting feature of the router is its virtual
server support. In this clients over the Internet can access any servers on your
internal network that are connected to the ViPiNet router. For this, the router
needs to be assigned a public IP address that clients outside the network will
use. After that, you need to specify the router’s configuration, that is, the
IP addresses and port numbers of the servers on your network. For example, if
you have a Web server running at port 80, then you need to specify its IP
address and port number in the router. The clients who want to access this
server from the Internet will use the public IP address of the router followed
by the port number (80).

Built-in VPN support is another major plus point of the
router. This allows offices in multiple locations to connect to each other over
the Internet. For this, these offices have to be connected to the Internet with
a public IP address. Each site will have the ViPiNet router and you can create
up to 32 VPN connections over the Internet. It also allows mobile user office
connectivity through VPN. The router supports IPSec protocol, which is the
latest protocol used in VPNs. It also supports the major encryption algorithms
like DES and MD5 that can be used while sending data over VPN links.

These are just two configurations. The rest are explained in
the manual, and an HTML edition is also included with the pack. Overall, it’s
a good choice for small network environments.

Anil Chopra and Sanjay Majumdar
at PCQ Labs

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